Fellow Since 2008
E Hubs Africa
This profile was prepared when Vivienne Schultz was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Vivienne believes that enabling spaces and nurturing relationships are required to create a rich climate for aspiring entrepreneurs. Her work is based on the recognition, encouragement, and support of individual potential in both the medium- and long-term. In a society where many individuals barely realize their potential to be successful entrepreneurs, her programs identify driven leaders and support them as they develop, sustain, and spread the enterprises. Vivienne’s work is based on a multi-tiered approach. First she identifies potential entrepreneurs. Through a training model called Addicted to Business she is able to provoke and challenge individuals as they develop their microenterprises. Then, Vivienne creates a supportive, nurturing, and resource-rich environment she calls the E-Hub. By providing work space and administrative services, E-Hubs are supported by business partners and become incubators for small enterprises. Finally, Vivienne emphasizes the need for individual support and learning by linking emerging entrepreneurs with established entrepreneurs. These relationships have the potential to create new markets and to address the challenges faced by both emerging and established entrepreneurs. Vivienne’s creation of an enabling environment that encourages individual entrepreneurs and businesses to forge links for experiential learning is innovative and valuable, especially in a climate where a piecemeal approach (like the emphasis on acquiring a single business skill) has failed.